Need a guide to Jozi’s cornucopia of great restaurants? We’ve rounded up all the spots you have to visit before you leave the city.
Artivist is a restaurant, bar, gallery and music venue all rolled into one, and it’s smack bang in the middle of Braamfontein, so it buzzes on the weekends. Go for fantastic tripe, beef tongue parcels and nourishing vegetarian bowls. The menu is small, and everything’s both simple and tasty. They also offer great coffee, cocktails and a boutique wine list.
Cheese Gourmet stocks over 140 hand-made South African cheeses, meaning you won’t find more local variety in Joburg. Explore local cultures while you chat cheeses with the knowledgeable owners and staff. Best of all, you can then indulge in the adjoining café. You’ll find delicious cheese platters and breakfasts as well as fantastic scones, pancakes and cakes.
When the jacarandas are in bloom, there’s only one place to view them: The Four Seasons Westcliff. If the sun’s shining, go for lunch or sundowners on the Flames deck. Opt for a signature cocktail alongside the famed Wagyu beef burger.
This lounge and shisa nyama spot is one of the most popular places for Alexandra yuppies by night. Well-known local DJs and musicians perform every Sunday. Choose your cut of meat and watch while it’s braaied on the open flames and piled onto a plate with pap and salad. Wine is available, but the drink of choice is beer. Joe’s is casual, upbeat and seriously fun.
Owner and chef Kassa is renowned throughout Maboneng for having the biggest heart, as well as for serving the heartiest, most delectable food. It’s an Ethiopian feast, so be prepared to break bread and eat with your hands. All dishes are served with injera (traditional Ethiopian flatbread made with 95% rice and 5% cake flour). The Mahberawi – a sharing platter of chicken, beef, lamb, pumpkin, cabbage, spinach, potatoes and beetroot – is what people flock here for, but they also offer a great vegan sharing platter.
Vusi Ndlovu has made a serious mark on the South African food scene with his quirky and playful take on fine dining. His menu is inspired by the forbidden shebeens of yesteryear. Highlights include KFQ: deep-fried quail, kimchi slaw, Japanese mayo and salsa verde; grilled cabbage with mussel powder, apples and miso mayo; and the must-have bread course: traditional steamed bread (dombolo) served with marrow bone and a gravy dip. Plus, evenings include a feast of live jazz to accompany your dinner.
? Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.
Live-fire cooking is at the core of David Higgs’s award-winning restaurant. There’s an element of smoke or fire to every dish, and there are some gorgeous fish and vegetarian dishes on offer amongst the steaks. But, speaking of steak, the signature wood-fired rib-eye with potato sauce and smoked bone marrow is out of this world delicious. Expect top-notch service, superb food and sublime views across Joburg. It also has one of the most stunning bars in the city, with great cocktails and MCC by the glass. Try a glass of Silverthorn MCC alongside their citrus granita oysters.
Named after the well-known Miriam Makeba song, this Sophiatown-esque restaurant is a great place to listen to live South African music and experience some local cuisine. (The less adventurous will also find an array of burgers and salads.)
Every Sunday, meet Main Street Walks at the Maboneng market. They’ll provide you with a picnic basket containing utensils and a blanket, before inviting you to peruse the market and fill your basket with edibles of your choice. (You need to bring your own wine/beverages). You’ll then enjoy a guided walk to the Carlton and take the lift to the 50th floor. (R300.00 per person and an additional R100.00 for each child between five and 12 years.)
Roving Bantu is an eatery and venue that offers live music and film and documentary screenings paired with cuisine that’s quintessentially South African. You’ll be entertained whilst you feast on samoosas, soups, vetkoek, stews and curries. The food is hearty and wholesome, with each night seeing slight changes to the menu.
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Most tourists who visit Joburg want to go to Vilakazi Street, and Thrive is the place to eat. It’s a double-storey beauty of a building with a spacious balcony and a fantastic view of Soweto. Here you can sip on cocktails, wines or expertly made coffees, and enjoy freshly baked croissants or a relaxed lunch. There are some nods to traditional South African fare; think rich oxtail stew and malva pudding. Sunsets are always stunning.
It’s an inner-city urban setting with a fine-dining offering. An enormous warehouse houses Mad Giant Brewery and Urbanologi restaurant, so both beer aficionados and foodies can get their fix. The menu is a celebration of all that’s local and sustainable – all produce is sourced within a 150km radius of the restaurant, so you get a true sense of what’s local. Sharing plates are the call of the day and vegans and vegetarians are truly well catered for. It’s an eclectic, vibrant and energised dining experience.
? Available for online bookings on the Eat Out app.
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